A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn't as tween-friendly as the earlier X-Men movies. Although many of the mutants are pretty indestructible, the action in this comic book prequel is still bloodier than in the previous films, thanks to the fact that much of it is carried out with the slashing edge of a claw, talon, or blade. There's also war violence, gunplay, a decapitated animal, and scary/grisly images of medical experiments, as well as kids being taken captive. Also expect mild male nudity (non-sexual shot of bare buttocks), and some drinking and swearing ("s--t" is as strong as it gets).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Set before the events of the X-Men franchise, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE tells the story of Hugh Jackman's quick-healing, metal-clawed superhuman superhero (aka Logan), from fighting wars to joining a special superhuman dirty tricks group; from walking away in disgust to coming back for vengeance. Wolverine's old employer, Col. William Stryker (Danny Huston), offers him the medical-scientific upgrades to make his revenge possible, but Wolverine learns that it's all part of a much bigger plan to make an ultimate killing machine that Stryker can pit against all mutantkind. Can Wolverine -- who stands alone -- step up, be a leader, and save the day?
Is it any good?
Much like the over-stuffed, over-done X-Men: The Last Stand, this is a fairly bloated film with too many characters, too much comic book trivia, and, ironically, not enough Wolverine. "More" in this case doesn't mean "better"; here, it's simply too much, with supporting characters crowding out the lead.
The action scenes are acceptable, even though X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn't do much with its '70s setting (since the only time-setting plot point is the Three Mile Island disaster, it's not always clear when all this is happening). Jackman has a real charm and a sly sense of humor; regrettably, the film doesn't give him much to do with either of them. And while Huston and co-star Liev Schreiber are charismatic in their bad-guy roles, the fact that the film bypasses them in favor of a silent, speechless ultimate bad guy detracts from their work. Wolverine feels like it was produced by people who were more interested in making money and selling toys than they were in telling a coherent, fun story, and the film suffers for it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the violence in X-Men Origins: Wolverine has more impact than that of the earlier X-Men movies. Why or why not?
How are Wolverine's fights different than those of characters with different powers/abilities? Is he comfortable with his strength? How does he control it?
The film seems to be saying that you can make the choice to not kill an enemy -- but is that message clear amid the high body count?
Discuss the appeal of comic book movies. Why do audiences like them so much?
- In theaters: May 1, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: September 15, 2009
- Cast: Danny Huston, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber
- Director: Gavin Hood
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity
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